Watch out, this review contains spoilers about the manga and anime Death Note!
The return of the most favourite Death Note character in Death Note 3 or L: Change the World is a dream of every Death Note fan and especially of every L fan. L: Change The World takes place after the events of Death Note 2: The Last Name and is about the last 23 days that L has on Earth. The movie starts just before L goes to Japan to investigate Kira. It is told in time jumps what happened during that investigation and more importantly how it ended. L wrote his own name, his full official name, down in the Death Note and has given himself 23 days without anyone else being able to kill him before that time. This made it possible for L to complete the Kira research and the remaining days to try cracking other cases. That’s when the original storyline of the film begins. A colleague of his, F, investigated a very contagious virus that was tested on indigenous populations. A boy, who gets his name at the end, is given to L by F, after which F himself dies of the virus. The Blue Ship Environmental Group wants to use the virus to dilute the population as part of their ‘ Earth cleansing Plan ‘. However, without the cure, they cannot implement that plan. Because of several problems on their path, they have to look for a cure and a girl, Maki, is an important key part of that. Maki was sent to L by her father, who worked on the virus, and together with the boy and Maki L goes on a quest to save the world.
L: Change The World is a movie that every Death Note fan should see, after which they will not be disappointed. Unlike the American filming of Death Note, this movie is Japanese and remains close to the original storyline and characters. The storyline is complex and the viewers’ attention must really be focused on the movie, because it is highly possible to miss an important piece of information and thus no longer understand a whole part of the movie. This complex storyline also creates a sense of realism, as there are clear cause-effect relationships throughout the movie.
That sense of realism in the movie is also achieved by the casting. Ken’ichi Matsuyama, who plays L in all the live-action Death Note movies, acts with a perfect impersonation of the character L from the manga/anime. In addition, the children acting in this movie have a great interpretation of emotions and remain in their roles, which is quite difficult to maintain because of the depths in the characters. These deep characters provide identification to the viewer, because the characters are so layered that they are authentic. Also, there is a character development present that allows for identification with the characters and that makes this movie so much better.
Ryuk, the Shinigami who dropped the Death Note in the Human world, is also present and in a few other scenes animation is used. This animation is perfectly integrated into the shots, which makes the animations look realistic. As a result, viewers remain immersed in the story world and that story world continues to be seen as real.
The only thing that can be commented on is the graphic scenes with the emphasis on the extras/supporting roles. Since the movie is about a deadly virus, there are scenes in which people actually die of that virus. However, this is shown in such a way that it looks fake and exaggerated. The grime used to depict the virus is, however, very realistic and beautifully applied, so the acting is what looks too theatrical.
L: Change The world is thus a beautiful, elaborated movie and perfect for expanding the story world of Death Note and bringing fans more fun experiences related to Death Note and L. It is recommended that if you have not already done so, to watch the anime or the first two live-action movies first, because this movie is full of spoilers. Despite that, everyone with a soft spot for L or of course a soft spot for Death Note should watch this movie!
Date of Release: 7 February 2008
Director: Hideo Rekata